Nearly six months after a shooter opened fire during one of his concerts, Jason Aldean is staying out of the gun-control debate.
On Oct. 1 last fall, the country superstar was a few songs into his set at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas strip when a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. And though the tragedy inspired some country musicians to call for stricter gun control, Aldean tells EW that it’s “not [his] place” to stand up for a particular policy change.
“I’m not a politician,” he says in the new issue of EW, on stands Friday. “I’m not trying to push my own agenda. If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half. I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know? I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer. When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system.”
He does, however, identify one possible contributing factor: “I’m not a pro [but] I think part of the issue is kids at home playing virtual reality games where they’re shooting people all day. They sit down for hours and hours, and that starts to become actual reality. Get out and throw a ball, you know what I’m saying? I think that’s part of the problem, but I don’t know.”
Aldean, whose new record, Rearview Town, arrives April 13, is still navigating his platform as an entertainer and survivor. But he hopes to leave questions about Vegas behind after this album: “I never want people to feel like I’m exploiting that situation and trying to hawk my records…. I’m just hoping that on this album cycle, we talk about whatever people want to know so we can go, ‘Okay, there’s nothing left to say, let’s focus on whatever we do next from here on out.'”
To read EW’s full interview with Aldean, pick up the new issue of EW, hitting newsstands on Friday.